The existing Sandy Lake Park (also called Jack Lake Regional Park) already includes 1,000 acres of land protected by Halifax Regional Municipality. But the job's not done. Our coalition proposes expanding the protection to create Sandy Lake - Sackville River Regional Park, which would encompas more than 2,000 acres of protected area in total.
Map showing existing park lands (red), and the Coalition's proposed additional lands to be protected (orange).
More than 1,800 acres of land still needs to be protected. (Map by Sandy Lake Conservation Association)
Acquiring the land to the north and west of Sandy Lake is important because it will:
Protect the 3 tributaries to Sandy Lake which cross that land. Development would degrade the water quality of these headwaters, which in turn affects the waters of Sackville River downstream from Sandy Lake.
Preserve substantial stands of old growth Acadian forest. Several of the trees in the area are over 200 years old.
Leave over 600 acres of important drumlins undisturbed. These landscape features feed the sweet waters of Sandy Lake (see HRM’s watershed study for Sandy Lake).
Conserve habitat for a diversity of wildlife (more than 100 species documented), including a remarkable variety of reptiles and amphibians.
Prevent increased flooding of the Sackvillle floodplain.
Provide connectivity to the 160 acres recently acquired by HRM beside Marsh Lake.
Add wildlife habitat connectivity to the Chebucto Peninsula as identified in the Halifax Green Network Plan.
Secure access to the lakes and forest of the Regional Park from the west, including for the 10,000+ people from Bedford West..
The land to the west of Sandy Lake includes disturbed land that, if acquired for protection, will rejuvenate into a healthy, diverse Acadian forest. Three hundred acres of this land was clearcut in 2013 by a developer, demonstrating the clear and present danger to this area.
Over most of the clearcut there is now vigorous regeneration, with the full suite of Acadian forest species. The new growth consumes nutrients and water, and with time the full ecosystem services will be re-established. It is a living example of how Acadian forests recreate themselves, if given the chance, when surrounded by intact forest. By letting the 300 acres heal, they will heal the watershed so it can once again help maintain water quality in the lake for wild Atlantic Salmon, other fishes, and wildlife. These benefit trickle down the Sackville River watershed, all the way to the Bedford Basin.
Limited development on small, privately-owned parcels around Sandy Lake has preserved for many decades the beautiful old growth forest and view planes. These lands matters to the ecological integrity of the area too.